Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Roasted "Tomesto" Pasta

Since I can never leave well enough alone, one night I added a slight twist to this recipe:
Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
It was GREAT!  All I did was add a quick pesto sauce to the pasta right before I mixed in the roasted tomatoes (get it..."tomesto"...HA).  You could add as much or as little pesto as you would like, I kept it light so I didn't overpower the roasted tomatoes, but next time I will probably put in more.  I also used whole wheat spaghetti.  Ahhh-mazing!

Here is my version of a quick pesto.
You will need:
  • 1 packed cup of basil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp of parmesan or romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts (can also use walnuts)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
*Pulse basil, garlic, lemon juice, and pine nuts in a food processor a few times.  Slowly stream in the olive oil, add cheese, salt and pepper until blended.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What's cooking this week & "Quelf"

I did it again!  Last week was a little wacky, so the meals from Thursday and Friday never quite happened.  Tonight and tomorrow's meals may look a bit familiar (depending on how close you were paying attention).

Tonight - Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos
Monday - Mozzarella Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Basil panini with london broil
Tuesday - Baked Chicken Milanese with Arugula and Tomatoes 
Wednesday - BBQ Chicken and Pepper Wraps with quinoa
ThursdayPasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Escarole
Friday - Crock-Pot Chili with turkey meat

I'm going to be honest, Friday's meal is probably not going to happen either...I believe I will be Orlando bound.  So expect to possibly see this again next week.  Ahhh, the beauty of trying to plan ahead! :)

We got another early start on this list, because the stores will probably be mobbed! Unless you are living under a rock, I am sure you have heard about the tropical storm/hurricane that is heading somewhat in our general direction.  Actually, I'm sure it is being hyped up, and will probably be nothing but a bad rain storm.  We are currently under a tropical storm warning...so far school hasn't been closed. I guess we will see if a hurricane party is in order! Last night we had some "pre-hurricane festivities" with some friends!   Bobby made the most crazy delicious smoked meat ever!  We played the silliest game called "Quelf"(no idea why it is called that, other than the fact it is fun to say)!  Here are some pics from the night...
Smoked Meat 
Quelf!
Quelmet - "Someone is losing at quelf"
Both doing weird things for two totally different reasons!
Why is he doing that?!?!?
Conjoined D-ports :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crispy Broccoli

I LOVE roasting veggies! I feel like every time I roast broccoli, I try a different method. I'm always googling "how to roast broccoli" (which is stupid because it is supposed to be easy), but can never seem to find the perfect formula....until now. It's so simple, the key is for the broccoli to be completely dry! If it's not dry...it won't come out as crispy.

Drizzle the broccoli with some extra virgin olive oil, add salt, and pepper....then roast in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. That is it!!! From now on, if I forget how to roast broccoli to perfection...I'm checking here instead of google! :)

(*Mine came out super crispy, I kept it in for the maximum 25 minutes...I would recommend taking it out about a minute or two before it looks like the pic above)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What's cooking this week & Charlie

It's not even 10:00...my meals are planned, AND the shopping list is ready to go!  I feel good!  Now I am ready to continue working on this weekends big project...wedding thank you's!  There is still a long way to go, I have barely made a dent.  I'm excited about this weeks menu (I'm pretty sure I say that every week), I've never attempted making scallops before!  My fingers are crossed that I can pull this off!

Tonight - Cauliflower Rice Paella with Chicken
Monday - Ancho Cherry Rotisserie Chicken (they sell it at Publix) with baked sweet potatoes and corn
TuesdaySeared Scallops with Tuscan Beans over spinach risotto
WednesdayChicken with Honey Orange Sauce and roasted broccoli
Thursday - Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos
Friday - Mozzarella Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Basil panini with london broil

We have a visitor this weekend, his name is Charlie or as my father calls him "Sir Charles". We are dog-sitting for our friends. Isn't he adorable?!? Love that face! He is the sweetest, and he is being such a good boy for being cooped up in our apartment! I think I am going to take him for another run/walk/pull before getting back into those thank you's!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mushroom Freezing Revelation

A few weeks ago, my weekly meal plan got a little thrown off and I had mushrooms in my fridge that started to get a little close to the end of their shelf life.  I literally had no idea what I wanted to do with them...I kept waiting for the lightbulb to go off...it didn't.  After some internet research on whether or not freezing mushrooms was do-able, all that turned up was loads of mixed results.  I was annoyed, and since it started to seem like they were just going to be thrown down the disposal in a couple of days I figured let's just try it.  We tried a method that some say may make the mushrooms taste less "mushroomy".  I figured that a less potent mushroom taste was a risk I was willing to take.  All I did was initially freeze the mushrooms laying flat on a baking sheet.  After they were frozen, I threw them all into a tupperware, and then put the tupperware into a freezer bag.  I'm not even sure that the freezer bag was necessary, but whatevs.  When I was finally ready to use the mushrooms...they were fine!  I didn't notice any lack of a "mushroomy" taste, so I guess that this is a food preservation win!  Patting myself on the back for that one!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blackberry Turkey Brie Panini

I guess I knew that there was no possible way that this panini wouldn't be delicious! The only reason I was "ify" about it, was that it seemed out of season....this is more like something I would make during the fall (maybe because of all of those leftover turkey/cranberry sandwiches after Thanksgiving). My secretary Theresa made the most wonderful blackberry preserves! SO AMAZING! Blackberries are my favorite, so I thought why not incorporate them into this panini!?!  All I did was put thinly sliced turkey, brie cheese, granny smith apples, and some of the blackberry preserves onto multigrain bread and press it with my handy-dandy panini press until the bread was crispy, and the cheese was "melty". If you don't have a panini press, you can just put it on a pan and press down with a plate, flip it over and press the other side. Sometimes I am amazed by how just a few simple ingredients can taste like a gourmet meal!
*This is the second panini....the first wasn't even close to "picture perfect"! :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What's cooking this week & a weekend in So-Flo

We are still working on "Operation Eat Everything In The Freezer". I'm thinking after this week, the risk of a concussion will be diminished greatly! The freezer is almost safe again! I'm excited about this weeks meals, especially Thursday...I haven't made those stuffed peppers in a while! Tomorrows dinner should be interesting....if it is good I will share it! :)

Monday - Blackberry Turkey Brie Panini
TuesdayRoast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers and Polenta
Wednesday - Whole wheat pasta with Grandpa's Marinara and salad
ThursdayTurkey Stuffed Peppers
FridaySkinny Italian Spinach Meatballs with leftover Grandpa's Marinara and salad

This weekend we drove down to South Florida for my cousins going away party! She is leaving in less than two weeks for Washington DC to start an internship at the Office of the Attorney General! We are SO proud of her! GO JEN!!! As usual, we had a great time with the family!



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Taco Tuesday

This post is false advertising...I didn't make tacos for dinner tonight, I made black bean burgers...however I do NOT have the brainpower to post that recipe right now! Not that it is hard, but I didn't measure anything so I'm really going to have to be in the right mindset to pull that one together! Tonight's post is about one of my favorite things....TACOS!!!! First of all, I wanted to share these fun taco holders!
I received them in my wishing well for my bridal shower, and I LOVE them!  Check them out in action....
Very cool, I'm a big fan!  They have revolutionized the taco assembly process!  :)
Speaking of tacos.... I wanted to share a tip on how to give an ordinary taco kit some "flair!  
Instead of just being boring and using the seasoning packet and ground beef, I first sauté onions, with zucchini.  Then you brown the meat (in this case I used turkey meat).  After the meat is browned, I add pinto beans, corn, the seasoning packet, and a half a cup of water.  Mix it all together until the sauce thickens...it is worth the little extra effort!  I do this all the time, and in case you don't know...I make tacos A LOT!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What's Cooking This Week & Plan To Eat

The key to this week is keeping it light!  Not only are these recipes "figure friendly", but they also seem pretty easy!  I admit last week I was a little overly ambitious, I never got to make the mango burgers!  I will be making them in the near future I'm sure.  As it turns out, there aren't too many opportunities to cook next week anyway...so I planned when I could!

Tonight - Not cooking...celebrating with B-Cas!
Monday - Not cooking....Open House at work :)
Tuesday - Black Bean Burgers
Wednesday - Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and salad
Thursday - Thai Chicken and Pineapple Stir Fry
Friday - Not cooking AGAIN...heading down to South Florida for the weekend

A friend of mine texted me and said she is now inspired to start planning her meals! Thanks Jess, your text made me smile! This got me thinking though...I have been sharing the meals I have been planning, yet I never shared HOW I plan them! Besides the obvious part where I scour the internet for recipes, on blogs, pinterest, etc....I use the website Plan To Eat!
 This website has been making my life a BAJILLION times easier for over two years now!  I tried the 30 day trial on a whim one day.  I wasn't thrilled that there was a membership fee...but I figured I had nothing to lose just by trying it.  Well, after that first month I was hooked...weekly meal planning just wouldn't be the same with out it!

Basically, you import all of your recipes into your account.  You can write your own, or load them directly from some websites.  Skinnytaste, EatingWell, Cooking Light, Food Network, Myrecipes all import directly into Plan To Eat just by copying and pasting the link.  If you want to import a recipe that doesn't directly load....you can still do it, it just takes a little longer because you need to upload a picture, and copy and paste the ingredients and directions manually.  Not a big deal though, I have done it many times.

After you have your recipes are loaded into your account, you just drag them into a calandar.  You can add additional ingredients you may need to pick up as well.  When you are finished, it creates a shopping list for you.  You can delete all of the things you don't need or already have on hand (for example, things like salt, pepper, olive oil).  Then you can either print it out, or e-mail it to yourself.  It is the greatest thing ever!  It takes a little bit of time to build up your arsenal of recipes...but it is so worth it!

These are the ingredients we needed for this weeks list...

The other great part is that it is also a network where you can add friends and then share recipes with each other.  Love it!  If anyone signs up for it let me know your username....mine is Sascoma, add me!  :)

***YES, I had to refresh my memory on how to take screenshots!  :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sausage Veggie Sub

With MasterChef being off the air for 2 weeks due the the Olympics...I figured everyone needs a "Frankie fix"!  One day last week, as I was perusing my Facebook newsfeed I noticed this beauty...
Doesn't it look great?!?  Frankie posted it and said:
"Todays mystery box challenge: left over hot sausage, cherry peppers, 1/2 zucchini, a few eggplant strips, cilantro, grated parmiggiano reggiano, Martins Potato bread."
Seems easy enough right?!?!  I decided to try it, remember that surplus of meat in my freezer I was talking about?  Well, I didn't mention the 7 packages of sausage that my uncle keeps buying for me...I can't find it up here, they only sell it at the Publix's in south Florida.  (Roman Brand hot italian sausage).  Anyway, I didn't have all of these ingredients so I made my own sausage veggie creation using Frankie's as inspiration, AND I even got some guidance from him.

For my version I used:
  • Hot italian sausage
  • Publix's multigrain italian bread
  • 2 zucchini's  sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips
  • 1 eggplant sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Some leftover goodies from the olive bar at the Fresh Market (olives, cherry peppers)
  • Grape tomatoes - cut in half
  • Parmesan cheese


I browned the sausage, cut it in half lengthwise....and finished cooking it cut side down.  Frankie told me to roast the zuchini and eggplant at 425 degrees until it is nicely browned and crisp.  After I assembled the subs (sausage, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, olives, tomatoes), I topped them with some parmesean cheese.  If I had remembered, I probably would have thrown some basil on there too.  Frankie's was most likely better, he even used all natural sausage that he made himself (crazyyy)!!!  Regardless, it was delicious and I am SO making this again! 

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